Ray Dalio to receive Greenwich Library Peterson Business Award – Greenwich Sentinel

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By Anne W. Semmes

2024 Peterson Awardee Ray Dalio. Photo contributed by Bridgewater Associates Sept 2018.

Next Thursday evening, April 4, Greenwich Library will present its 2024 Peterson Business Award to Greenwich’s Ray Dalio, the global business icon and founder of Bridgewater Associates, cited as the world’s largest hedge fund. Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont will present the Award to Dalio at the dinner event at the Hyatt Regency. The event is the Library’s largest fundraiser, with Dalio the 14th Awardee since the Award was established in 1997.

Featured in the evening will be a “Fireside Chat” with Dalio and Leslie Picker, a CNBC award-winning senior finance and banking reporter. Dalio, who has run his company for 47 years in Connecticut is renowned as a macroeconomic advisor to policymakers. Named by TIME magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World,” he’s also a bestselling author of his “Principles: Life and Work (2017), Principles for Navigating Big Debt Crises (2018), and Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order (2021). (For those who follow him online via LinkedIn, he shares his “Principle Of The Day”: “Dreams + Reality + Determination = A Successful Life.”)

“We are delighted to honor Ray Dalio with the Greenwich Library Peterson Business Award,” shared Greenwich Library Board of Trustees President Peggy Edersheim Kalb. “His achievements in finance and his incredible philanthropic efforts around the world, and especially here in Greenwich, make him a perfect recipient of the Peterson Business Award.”

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“He started the Greenwich Town Party,” said Library board member Larry Codraro. “Ray has lived in the community for a long time, and he’s been quite philanthropic. He’s been honored recently by the Greenwich Historical Society. He’s a brilliant guy with his ability to convert broad macro themes into actionable ideas.”

Codraro, who is an investment manager, is looking forward to the Fireside Chat at this moment in history. “Given what’s going on, given we’ve got wars in various places, we’ve got a U.S. presidential election, given we’ve got a spiraling national debt and lots of political upheaval here domestically,” Codraro was looking forward to Dalio’s comments perhaps on those various topics, “and how they impact the financial markets.”

How that Peterson Award of 25 million dollars – that added a wing to the Library – has affected the finances of the Greenwich Library was commented on by Lisa Mandel, the Library’s director of development. “That gift was received in 1992,” she said, “and because of the bequest from the Peterson Foundation we have had a significant investment over time. We have over 30 years of having made significant investments in these collections and departments of our building. So, we have incredibly robust collections and knowledgeable librarians in all of those areas.”

CNBC reporter Leslie Picker. Contributed photo.

Mandel also addressed the special public/private partnership of the Library with the Town of Greenwich. “First Selectman Fred Camillo is very proud of this particular partnership,” she said as, “The Library is funded by the Town – all of the staff, the building, the maintenance, et cetera, and materials. But all of the services and programs that we offer are funded through private funds. So, it’s about an 80/20 split, but of the private funding, some of that comes from our Peterson Foundation. And all of our programs are free. We do not charge anybody anything to come and use this library in any capacity.”

So, count in those nearly 2,000 free programs, “that nearly half are for children,” noted Mandel. “We do story times several times a week in the branches and at the main library. And sometimes there’s up to 30 kids and their caregivers in the room. Then there’s training, there’s lectures, there’s workshops, book groups, any number of things that involve people in all different categories and concepts. So, we always say the library really does have something for everyone. We succeed in meeting the needs of everybody in our community.”

That Peterson Business Award came from the estate of Clementine Lockwood Peterson, in memory of her husband J. Whitney Peterson who had headed the U.S. Tobacco Company. Besides benefitting business, she also wanted to enhance the Library’s music collection in memory of her son and only child Jonathan, a music lover who died in a car accident at age 24.

According to former Library Board President Mary Ellen LeBien, as reported in The New York Times, Mrs. Peterson had previously given the library her late son’s “extensive collection of music records.” She also gave to the library a jukebox, “which was installed in a room so patrons could come and listen to her son’s records and to other recordings the library had in its collection.” She would occasionally stop by that jukebox room, learned LeBien, to see how that space was being used and how people were enjoying listening to the music.”

So, with this year’s 2024 Peterson Awardee Ray Dalio, those two bequests come together with Dalio’s business fame and his initiating in 2013 the much-loved music venue of the Greenwich Town Party, after having seen the community-building effects of an annual town party in his wife Barbara’s home country of Spain.

Those wishing to honor the Greenwich Library Peterson bequest and those free Library programs can attend the April 4 event by visiting greenwichlibrary.org/peterson

Greenwich Library’s second floor Music Library in the Peterson Wing. Contributed photo.

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